In the wake of rising number of cases and reported deaths due to Nipah Virus in Kozhikode, Kerala, Union Health Minister J P Nadda has assured all support to the Kerala Government.
The Health Minister has also directed a multi-disciplinary Central team from National Centre for Disease Control to immediately visit the district, and assist the State. It will closely monitor the situation.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. I have spoken to Shri Alphons and Smt K Shailaja, Health Minister, Kerala and assured them all support of the Central government. I have also dispatched a Central team to assist the State government and initiate required steps,” the Union Health Minister said in a statement from Geneva.
As per official statement from State Health Minister KK Shailaja, nine fever deaths from the two districts of Kozhikkode and Malappuram have been reported till now. Out of these, four cases have been confirmed to be Nipah-infected.
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.
The Minister said that the state has been put on high alert and two control rooms have also been opened.
There was no need to panic as the virus spreads only through direct contact with the infected person, she appealed to people.
“We have listed the persons who have got in touch with the patients. They have been isolated as precautionary measure,” Health minister K K Shylaja said.
The virus gets its name from a place Nipah in Malaysia where it was first identified during a outbreak in 1998.
In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with this virus as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.
NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.
It is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals.